Audi’s quest to become America’s upmarket alpha has hit the wall. It might be the same wall Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac et al. have struck, but it’s b-b-b-b-b-bad. You know sales suck when Audi PR doesn’t mention the actual percentage drop and headlines A5 and, worse (better?), R8 sales. “The Audi A5 posted a 76.3% increase over last January with 603 units sold in January 2009. The Audi R8 broke its January sales record with over 107 units sold, an increase of 75.4% over January’s sales a year ago.” Woo-hoo! Meanwhile, A4 sales evaporated, down 29.4 percent. The high profit A8 is DOA: sales off 65.1 percent. Sales of the TT roadster (-51.8%) and Q7 SUV (-44.7%) indicate two other dead models not selling.
The A3, Audi’s American attempt at small car chic, is toast (-27%). Never mind. Audi boasted that when the dust clears, they’ll steal market share, ready for the recovery to come. “Audi predicts,” Audi predicted, “its share of the U.S. luxury vehicle market will increase when all January 2009 sales reports come in compared to year-earlier results.”
Uh, BMW dropped “only” 15.5 percent. On the “positive” side, Porsche’s January sales dipped 36.1 percent. Wait; the same group owns both Audi and Porsche. OK then, Daimler dropped 35.5 percent. But they had a longer way to drop, volume-wise.
Still, anyone who counts Audi out is misjudging Ingolstadt’s American team determination take the luxury car crown. If not now, later. And if not later, eventually.